Advanced Search
James Bradley
James Bradley
Flags of Our Fathers
ISBN: 0553111337
Flags of Our Fathers
In this unforgettable chronicle of perhaps the most famous moment in American military history, James Bradley has captured the glory, the triumph, the heartbreak, and the legacy of the six men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Here is the true story behind the immortal photograph that has come to symbolize the courage and indomitable will of America.
In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima—and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island's highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag.
Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever.
—from the publisher's website
Flags of Our Fathers
Program Air Date: July 9, 2000

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: James Bradley, author of "Flags of Our Fathers," what's this book about?
LAMB: What about them?
Mr. BRADLEY: They were Depression-era boys. They were rushed off to war. They would not have been warriors, they would not have been in uniforms, but something kind of big happened. You know, we talk about war and we title--we put the word--we title wars. We say Gulf War. We say Vietnam War. We say Peloponnesian War.

This one that these little boys had to go out and win we call--we put the word `World' in front of it: World War. World War II was the most significant event in the history of the human race. These boys and other boys like them went out and made sure that it came to the conclusion that their mothers would like.
LAMB: Where did you get the idea for this book?
Mr. BRADLEY: I didn't want to write a book. I wanted to find my father. My father died at the age of 70 in 1994, and he had never talked about it. I phoned my mom after he died and I said, `Mum, there must have been some pillow talk. Tell me what Dad told you about Iwo Jima.' And she said, `Well, that won't take long. He only talked about it once, on our first date for seven or eight disinterested minutes. And never again did I hear the words Iwo Jima from your father.'

Well, what was going on here? And my brother, Mark, is searching in my father's office suite, and he opens a secret closet door. In that closet are two cardboard boxes, plain, ordinary, like John Bradley. But in those boxes, we were surprised to learn, my dad had saved 50 years of Iwo Jima memories. And at the bottom of one of the boxes was a letter. It was a letter he had written home to his parents three days after the flag raising. In that letter, he wrote, `I had something to do with raising an American flag, and it was the happiest moment of my life.'

I cried, Mr. Lamb, when I read that letter, wondering, `What's going on here?' There's a 53-year-old mystery. Everyone knows the photo. No one knows the boys. I'm a son, I have a degree in Japanese studies, and I know nothing about who my dad was on February 23rd, 1945. So I did a--you know, people are calling me author--an author. No, I just picked up the phone and I called mayors' offices, sheriffs' departments all across the country, and I said, `You've got to tell me where the relatives of these boys are. I have to find out who my father was.'

So it was a search for my father. I did not intend to write a book. But the stories got so good, I thought it was my duty to write them down.
LAMB: In the very last page of the photographs, you have this photo of--it looks like, your family. Where was that taken?
Mr. BRADLEY: That's about half of my immediate family. People ask which one I am there. I always say that I'm the handsome one; I'm easy to point out. That was atop Mt. Suribachi, where four Bradley boys and Betty Bradley walked Green Beach underneath Mt. Suribachi, went up the hill. And in that picture, we're putting a plaque in the mitten shape of Wisconsin, ruby-red granite that says, `To John Bradley, flag raiser, from his family.'
LAMB: What about the photo right below it?
Mr. BRADLEY: We're in a Japanese blockhouse. Those things had three-foot walls, about three-foot ceilings. You couldn't s--aerial observers could not see them, and the Japanese in there knew that they were going to die, but their job was to kill 10 Americans before they died.
LAMB: When did your father die?
Mr. BRADLEY: In my mother's arms and I was holding his legs, and he was in a hospital bed, and it was January of 1994.
LAMB: Th--by the way, before we go any further, Ron Powers--it says, `With Ron Powers."
Mr. BRADLEY: Right.
LAMB: What role did he play in the book?
Mr. BRADLEY: Contractually, I'm the author of this book, and he was a writer.
LAMB: How did you find him?
Mr. BRADLEY: My agent--I interviewed four people, and I chose Ron.
LAMB: And who is he?
Mr. BRADLEY: Ron won a Pulitzer Prize out in--out for newspaper reporting. He's a distinguished author of Mark Twain--on Mark Twain.
LAMB: We have some video of the Iwo Jima statue here in Washington, where a lot of people visit. When was the first year that you ever saw this?
Mr. BRADLEY: I was--I was 19--oh, jeez, the first year, 1979.
LAMB: And who's in this--well, the--it's a picture originally, but who's in the statue? How many people?
LAMB: Where's your dad?
Mr. BRADLEY: The guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block from Texas. The next guy up is Doc Bradley. His name is John Bradley, my father. At that moment, he was Doc Bradley on Iwo Jima. He was a Navy corpsman. There's five Marines, one Navy corpsman. My dad's the Navy corpsman.
LAMB: And there he is in the shot right there. Is that actually--when they--when they did this sculpture of him, is that what he looked like then, or have you delved into what the sculpture itself looks like?
Mr. BRADLEY: He looked--Felix de Weldon took the photo--there's my dad. With the rain, nice shot. Felix de Weldon took the photo, and then he imaginarily--he--in his imagination, he moved it forward, and that--that's what he sculpted in bronze. He did not sculpt the exact photo. He sculpted something that, in his imagination, moved the photo forward. They didn't want Harl--see, Harlon on the photo, if--if the audience looks at the photo...
LAMB: And he's the fellow on the right there, Harlon Block?
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, Harlon Block's putting the pole in the ground. On the photo, his behind is just to the photo. You can't see any, you know, side shot. And so Felix wanted to straighten that out.
LAMB: Who are the other five, besides your father, in that statue? You mentioned Harlon Block.
Mr. BRADLEY: The guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. He enlists with all the senior members of his high school football team, where he's an all-state pass catcher. They're going off to just another great, glorious, patriotic game. Didn't work out that way. Harlon died March 1st with his intestines in his hands. His last words were, `They killed me.' And then that figure on the photograph, Harlon Block's butt was misidentified for two years. The United States government, the Associated Press, the entire country said that's--that's Hank Hanson from Boston, another dead Marine who happened to die in my dad's arms.

Well, there was one person who didn't believe that, and that was a woman; it was his mother, Belle Block. And when her kids begged her, `Mom, the kids think--the neighbors think you're crazy. Give it up. That's not Harlon.' She said, `I changed so many diapers on that boy's butt, I know that's my boy.' And she was proven to be right. So that's Harlon Block putting the pole in the ground.

The next guy up is Doc Bradley. So get this, as far as a humble guy: My dad is in the ground, and my father's former captain, Dave Sevrance, from Iwo Jima phones my mother and says, `Mrs. Bradley, condolences,' blah, blah, blah. `Are--are you aware that your husband is one of the most-decorated veterans of World War II, that he won the Navy Cross, secondly only to the Medal of Honor?' And you know what Betty Bradley said, with her husband in the ground, `No.' He kept it secret from his family, wife, community, the Navy Cross. I told that to Senator John McCain. He shook his head and said, `If you weren't his son telling me, I wouldn't believe it.'
LAMB: And where did your father live when he came back to this country after the war?
Mr. BRADLEY: We were all raised in Antigo, Wisconsin, about 10,000 people. That time, it was the maple syrup capital of the world, and we had--generally, had the best football team in the state.
LAMB: What was the day that the flag was raised?
Mr. BRADLEY: February 23rd, 1945.
LAMB: And you mentioned Harlon Block, and we've got Doc Bradley. Now you've got four others to talk about. I've got a picture here of Ira Hayes. Who was he?
Mr. BRADLEY: OK, the press will tell you this is an alcoholic Indian. I did the interviews. I didn't hear that from any of the people who knew him. What I heard was that, `Here was an honorable warrior.' This is a Pima Indian, very upper-crust, peaceful, relatively wealthy tribe. They had runes--when Rome was young, the Pima had runes, OK? Very intelligent, honored tribe. Ira Hayes was an honorable warrior. Yes, he drank a little too much. I wish the public would get off his back for having a drink and take a look at--at a guy who engendered respect from everybody who knew him.
LAMB: How long did he live?
Mr. BRADLEY: Ira had 10 years to live from the day the photo was put up.
LAMB: And we're showing some more video of the statue. This is not seen in the photo itself. It's from the other side. You say in the book, though, that Ira Hayes had f--51 times he was in jail?
LAMB: What--is that all from--afterwards or before?
Mr. BRADLEY: Twice before he en--enlisted in the Marines and almost all the others afterwards.
LAMB: And how much did the experience in the Marines Corps and the--and the--World War II have an impact, do you think, on his life and the--what happened afterwards?
Mr. BRADLEY: It wasn't the photo; it was this quote. Just listen to this quote. This is after Harry Truman told him he was a hero in the Oval Office, with my dad. Ira Hayes says, `How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the beach with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?'
LAMB: Another man in the photo is--and correct me if I don't pronounce it right--Rene Gagnon.
Mr. BRADLEY: Rene like a rainy day, Rene Gagnon.
LAMB: Did he pronounce it Gagnon or Ganyon.
Mr. BRADLEY: Gagnon.
LAMB: And what's his story?
Mr. BRADLEY: Rene Gagnon at the time--where is he on the flag raising? Harlon Block's putting the pole in the ground. The next guy up is John Bradley. There's Rene Gagnon right there. He's behind John Bradley on the photo, obscured. There, you see his face on the camera. At--if you took that helmet off of him at the moment he was shot in that photo, you'd find a photograph in the webbing. There was a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene needed it for protection because he was scared. You see, that man--that boy was 19 years old.
LAMB: What happened to him?
Mr. BRADLEY: He died at the age of 54, found...
LAMB: '79--1979?
Mr. BRADLEY: 1979, correct. Found dead in a basement of an apartment complex, where he was the janitor.
LAMB: And what kind of life did he lead after this?
Mr. BRADLEY: He led a l--his son said `stop-and-go heroism.' He'd get a phone call, `Oh, Mr. Gagnon, it'd be a wonderful day for our community and a--a great honor if you'd come and address us,' and hard to turn down. Then there was parades and applause and majorettes and the mayor and the key to the city. Then he'd go back to an ordinary life. His son said it was `stop-and-go heroism.'
LAMB: Who was Mike Strank?
Mr. BRADLEY: My hero.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. BRADLEY: Mike--if you talk to guys in their 70s who knew Mike, they know a lot of people, and they say, `This is the finest man I ever met.' They say he's a Marine's Marine. So--I didn't know anything about the military, and I thought a Marine's Marine was a Rambo, a John Wayne, a killer. No. Mike was 25. He was the grizzled leader. They called him `the old man' because he was already 25. But what Mike was all about was caring for little boys. He had 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds in his care, and he would say to them, `You do what I say. You listen to me, and I'll get you home to your mothers.' So when they would do dangerous things on Iwo Jima, like getting killed or getting shot, he'd say, `Your mom wouldn't like that.' And then they would--you know, he was getting little boys back to their mother.

And if you look at the photo, Mike's captured in a characteristic pose. Your audience has to use their imagination to find Mike on the photo. Let's do it again. Harlon Block's putting the pole in the ground. Next one up is John Bradley. The next one is Mike Strank, if you look at the photo from the front. No, the next one is Franklin Sousley. Behind Franklin Sousley--obscured by Franklin Sousley is Mike Strank. You can't see him on the photo. All you can see is his right hand. Where is that right hand? It's not on the pole. He's got his left hand on the pole. His right hand is around the wrist of Franklin Sousley. He's helping a younger boy raise a heavy pole, characteristic of Mike, a Marine's Marine, my hero, a guy who had a photographic memory; could have been governor of the state, but instead, with friendly fire, he had his heart ripped out on March 1st.
LAMB: Who's this man?
Mr. BRADLEY: Boy. That's Franklin Sousley. Franklin Sousley was a fun-lovin', Hilltop, Kentucky, hillbilly. Raised in Hilltop, Kentucky. There's one structure down there called the Hilltop General Store. He and his--he and his best friend, when they were boys, J.B. Shannon, pushed--J.B.'s telling me this. Said, `Well, we pushed two cows up on the porch on a Halloween night, and then we strung wire across the stairway so they--those cows couldn't get down. And then we fed them Epsom salts.' So he stopped for a second there and he says, `Boy, those cows shit all night.'

So that was Franklin Sousley, a--a hillbilly. He was fatherless at the age of nine, dead on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. The story is--is that when the telegram came to the Hilltop General Store, a bare-foot boy ran it up to his mother's farm. The lore is that the neighbors could hear her scream. I didn't say cry, I said scream, all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.
LAMB: Your father dies in 1994. This is the year 2000. When did you start your research?
Mr. BRADLEY: Research is a big word. I didn't start research. I started picking up the phone looking for my dad. I read the first books I'd ever read on Iwo Jima. I--I had no knowledge of--if I had found out that my dad was behind a desk on Iwo Jima, I would have believed it because all his life he said, `I didn't do anything.' And then--then I heard the stories that what he was going for 18 days was running into bullets.
LAMB: So as you went about finding your dad, how many places in the world did you have to go to talk to people?
Mr. BRADLEY: Not many--Iwo Jima. I had been--I spent a lot of time in Japan. I had an office there, and I went to school there. I studied the Japanese history, so I kind of knew that. Had to go to the flag-raisers' homes, had to meet with rel--not had to, I met with relatives. I walked on the football field that Harlon Block caught passes on. It was g--you know, it's great spending five years talking to heroes and about heroes.
LAMB: Going over the sixth one more time, three of them were killed on Iwo Jima.
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: The three again who were killed are...
Mr. BRADLEY: Mike Strank, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley. Franklin Sousley's last words were, `I'm OK.'
LAMB: And the three that lived?
Mr. BRADLEY: Three that came back as immortal heroes were John Bradley--Jack Bradley, Doc Bradley, depending on when you knew him, Rene Gagnon and Ira Hayes.
LAMB: Ira Hayes died in '55.
Mr. BRADLEY: '55.
LAMB: '79 for...
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: ...the--Mr. Gagnon and then your father in 1994.
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: Let's go back to the photograph itself. You have in the book this photograph. Would you tell us what that is?
Mr. BRADLEY: This is the important flag raising on Iwo Jima. This is--about 10 AM they raised the first flag on the--why is that important? You see, Saipan, Tinian, Guam--those were not Japanese territory. They were not part of Japan. They were captured by Japan. Iwo Jima is part of the sacred realm. The mayor of Tokyo is the mayor of Iowa Jima. So that's the first flag over Japanese territory in 4,000 years. Very, very important. The island went nuts. Unlike the flag raising my dad was in--excuse me, excuse me, Diet Coke--the--my dad's flag raising was just a replacement flag raising. It was insignificant.
LAMB: So who took this photograph?
Mr. BRADLEY: The first one?
LAMB: This one right here.
Mr. BRADLEY: The first flag raising?
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: Lou Lowery.
LAMB: What happened to it?
Mr. BRADLEY: What happened to it?
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: There it is in the book; it got developed, but it just didn't create a sensation like these--like the replacement flag raising.
LAMB: Why was there a replacement fla--fra--flag raised, and when did it happen?
Mr. BRADLEY: So you have Holland "Mad" Smith, the general, with the secretary of Navy, James Forrestal. Forrestal says, `I want to go on Iwo Jima,' which is a bad idea because wherever you stood, you had a good chance of--of dying. He's secretary of the Navy; he insists. So General Holland "Mad" Smith takes the secretary of the Navy onto the worst D-Day beach of World War II, and Forrestal sees the first flag go up and he says, words to the effect, `Boy, I'd like that as a souvenir.'

That gets relayed to Colonel Johnson, my dad's colonel. His flap is flipped up, you know, potbelly out, cigar, says, `To hell with that,' and other things I can't say on TV. He says, `That flag is going down into the battalion's safe. We're keeping that flag, not souvenir hunters.' So he says, `Put up a replacement flag.'
LAMB: And this is a picture at the bottom here of the replacement flag going up and the other flag coming down.
Mr. BRADLEY: Right. In the background there, that's my dad and Mike Strank and the boys putting up the replacement flag, and the--the first one's coming down.
LAMB: And what was the time frame of this? When did the first flag go up, and when did the replacement flag go up?
Mr. BRADLEY: I'm going to say--it's in the book accurately--it's about three to four hours.
LAMB: So it was the same day.
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: And then you have the photograph that has been seen around the world forever, by Joe Rosenthal right here, Associated Press photographer. The one up top is the one, I guess, that we see most of the time.
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, let's start with the one on the bottom. The one on the bottom is the original shot. That's a horizontal shot, wide. You see the clouds, the island. Then they cropped it to get it into newspapers, and that crop became the most reproduced image in the history of photography.
LAMB: When was it first published, and where was it published?
Mr. BRADLEY: If you--if you can find a newspaper that didn't have it on the cover Sunday, February 25th, please let me know. I'm trying to document the newspapers in the United States where it was not on the front cover.
LAMB: The date again?
Mr. BRADLEY: That it appeared, February 25, 1945.
LAMB: '45. And who was Joe Rosenthal?
Mr. BRADLEY: Joe Rosenthal was a--about a 5'4" guy who jumped on, I believe, four D-Days in the Pacific to take pictures. This is an American hero. And he gets up there on Mt. Suribachi, and he's got this big, bulky, Speed Graphic camera. And out of the corner of his eye, he sees some action and he goes like this, like a football game--boom. He doesn't even focus it. People say the photo's posed, which is ridiculous. Joe was so far away he couldn't even yell to the guy. They didn't know there was a photographer.

He barely got the shot, OK? And you know what the photographer who--who--later, it becomes the most reproduced photo in the history of photographer--you know what he thought at that moment? `Blew it.' So he asked the lieu--lieutenant to pose 18 guys underneath the flag when it was up, and he took a posed shot. Yeah, he took a posed gung-ho shot. My dad and three of the flag raisers are in there. Ira Hayes, Mike Strank, Franklin Sousley and Doc Bradley are in that, 18 guys.

So Joe sees that one and thinks, `Oh, this'll make a hit back in the United States, this posed shot.' He didn't see the flag-raising shot, right? So his film goes to Guam. They send the flag-raising photo to New York. It's all over the place. Joe doesn't see it because this is 1945. He's on in Iwo Jima, got--you know, he's walking around bodies, stepping over entrails. And he gets a telegram from the AP, `Congratulations on that great shot.' So Joe thinks, `That's that posed shot I took,' 'cause he never saw the flag raising, right?

And he flies to Guam seven days later. The press runs out of the Quonset hut and says, `Joe, did you pose it?' And Joe says, `Yes, of course,' 'cause he's thinking of the posed shot. An NBC guy hears that, says, `I'll get the scoop,' goes back, wires New York, `Rosenthal posed the shot.' There begins the myth--the myth that that was a posed shot.
LAMB: Here's the front page--and you have this picture in your book--of The New York Times with the photograph on it.
Mr. BRADLEY: Myths.
LAMB: And at the top, it says: Myths. That's a chapter heading. What--what happened to the myths? What--or how many myths were there around this photo?
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, I don't know, but--excuse me--I don't know, but, you know, I get so much mail and when I'm doing radio programs, call-in--you know, `My grandpa was right next to the flag raisers. My grandpa took the pole up,' you know. And a general said, `If everyone who insisted they were on Mt. Suribachi that day--if there were that many people on Mt. Suribachi, the island would have sunk,' you know. So they're myths. Sixty percent of Americans believe in UFOs apparently, according to the polls, and I--I think at least that number think that, `My dad, with the brain matter of his friends, was asked to pose.' I don't think so.
LAMB: So any other myths around the whole event?
Mr. BRADLEY: Oh, yeah. I mean, I...
LAMB: What do you hear when you're doing the radio show--I mean, the call-in shows?
Mr. BRADLEY: What do I hear?
LAMB: Yeah, what do you hear from callers, besides the...
Mr. BRADLEY: People think it was m--meant the end of the battle. People think those boys are heroes because they're in a photo. People think that represents so many qualities about America that they're imputing. They don't know the boys.
LAMB: You say in your book that, actually, when that flag was raised, it was just the start of the battle. It was a 36-day battle, and it--and it started on--What?--February 19th and this was February 24th.
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir, 23.
LAMB: 23.
Mr. BRADLEY: Five--five days into the battle. But, see, they took the high ground, Mt. Suribachi. Logically, they thought, `We won the island.' They didn't know there were 22,000 Japanese underground--in an underground city.
LAMB: Talk about the island. Where is it in--in relationship, say, to Tokyo?
Mr. BRADLEY: It's 600 miles south of Tokyo. It's one of the ugliest, stinking rocks you could possibly visit. It's a closed Japanese base. You can't get on unless the president or somebody, you know, figures out how to get your body on there.
LAMB: You mean today.
Mr. BRADLEY: Today. Yeah. Well, we invaded. We didn't ask permission the last time, you know? And it's fi--see, it's only five miles long. N--Normandy--D-Day beach was two--hundreds of miles. I don't know. How long was Normandy? They--the beach on Iwo Jima was two miles. The Japanese were in Mt. Suribachi. Seven stories--seven stories of catacombs with ventilation systems, food to last for months, ammunition, behind seven-foot walls. They backed tanks in and then only had a hole for the turret. So my dad and those little boys run across this volcanic ash sand, they can't see anybody. There's 22,000 guys underground. America doesn't understand that.

I was in the hospital. It's 45 feet underground. They had hospital beds cut into the volcanic rock. I mean, you can drop a nuclear bomb, but--on top of rock, and it's not going to d--disturb a scalpel 45 feet underneath solid rock. An American surgeon set up a table. He was operating on boys. He got tired, he went to sleep one night, and he heard Japanese voices. He scratched underneath the tarp, he was atop a Japanese conference room. Twenty-two thousand people living underground. They didn't see--I--I interviewed guys who never saw a live Japanese soldier.

See, Americans are thinking, you know, Germany: `There's a German. Let's get him.' Or, `We can't see them. Throw a grenade. Then he'll pop up.' No, no, no, no, no. Twenty-two thousand Japanese, you know, with toothpicks, with--with--with 80,000 Americans up above them.
LAMB: Hundred--you--I think you say 120,000 people participated, both Japanese and Americans, in that...
Mr. BRADLEY: Numbers can't be known, but let's say it's 80,000 Americans and let's say it's 22,000 Japanese.
LAMB: How many Japanese died?
Mr. BRADLEY: Those boys had to die.
LAMB: All of them.
Mr. BRADLEY: OK. So now one of your readers--one of the listeners is going to write in and say, `A thousand Japanese are captured.' Well...
LAMB: There were roughly 21,000...
Mr. BRADLEY: Listen--no, but listen--no, not roughly. Most of those guys supposedly "captured" were Korean laborers, slave laborers who--who--who gave up. The Japanese who were "captured" generally had a hole in a part of their body, and maybe half of their blood system was already out of their bodies, and they were unconscious. The Japanese were not surrendering. Germans surrendered. Italians surrendered. English surrendered. Americans surrendered in World War II. Japanese, no.
LAMB: How many Americans were killed?
Mr. BRADLEY: About 7,000 boys. They couldn't--they had so many, they couldn't bury in individual graves. They had to bury by row, and they had a draftsman marking the lines.
LAMB: What did you learn about your father that you didn't know, besides the Navy Cross and that he didn't talk about it and there was this--the most exhilarating day of his life and all that? What else did you learn about him? What kind of a guy was he?
Mr. BRADLEY: See, I didn't learn anything really new about that guy that you're looking at 'cause he was my dad. We knew his life. What I learned about was the boy--the 21-year-old boy running through bullets to save lives. He probably held 200 to 300 kids in his arms as they died. And, you know, when they died on Iwo Jima, they wriggled in pain.
LAMB: How did you find it--I mean, who told you that if he wouldn't talk to you about it?
Mr. BRADLEY: I talked to all of the living guys who went up Mt. Suribachi. I talked to hundreds of Iwo Jima vets.
LAMB: And how close did he come to dying?
Mr. BRADLEY: He's in his grave right now, and when his body is gone, when his clothes are gone in that casket, the only thing that'll be left is some pieces of metal made in Japan.
LAMB: Shrapnel. And how badly was he wounded?
Mr. BRADLEY: Ripped his pants off and his legs were all chewed up with shrapnel. And eyewitnesses said that he would not treat himself. He was crawling, with his bloody legs, to care for other guys around him.
LAMB: Who was Iggy?
Mr. BRADLEY: Iggy was my dad's buddy that was tortured underground for three days, and then when the Japanese gave the body back by tossing it up mutilated, the things that I can't say on TV, my dad was called to examine the body.
LAMB: And how'd you find that out?
Mr. BRADLEY: My dad told me about--just a little about it, in about a minute of an anguished kind of gush when I was a little boy and it didn't mean anything. I mean, I didn't have the sensitivity to understand what he was talking about. Then later, the other guys who saw the body talked to me has a son.
LAMB: Did they know then that the Japanese were treating people like that? I mean, did th--when they were on Iwo Jima, was it--those stories around then, at the time?
Mr. BRADLEY: (Nods yes)
LAMB: What did it do to them? Do you know?
Mr. BRADLEY: Made them very afraid. They were little boys.
LAMB: Did it make them angry?
Mr. BRADLEY: No, I didn't detect any anger. It's amazing. I interviewed hundreds of Iwo Jima vets, and, you know, there's no--see, it was all about buddyhood. It was about love. I thought hate won the battle of Iwo Jima. But I didn't realize it was love. It was a bunch of boys bonded, and they loved each other. So when they s--when--when their best friend gets killed and they describe it, they don't say, `Then this Japanese'--no, no, no. They say, `And then Marty got it in the head.' See, they don't s--they don't personalize it, the Japan--`Marty got it in the head, and I held him and I said, "Marty"'--see? It's all about their buddies and about love. They were fighting for each other. Corpsman Robert DiJuse says in the book, `It wasn't about valor or fighting or bravery. It was about helping your friends.'
LAMB: When we are recording this BOOKNOTES, you're already number three on The New York Times Bestseller List...
Mr. BRADLEY: Two, two, two.
LAMB: Well, going to two. I mean, in the next--how's this--how'd it happen? You haven't been a--you haven't been around that much. I mean, the book just came out.
Mr. BRADLEY: The book has nothing to do with me. It's the most reproduced photo in the history of photography. Those were n--wonderful, nice boys, and I'm the curator of--I'm--I've been honored to curate some stories.
LAMB: But are you surprised? Did you have any idea it was going to take off this fast?
LAMB: You did.
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, it's the number one photo in the history of photography. America was in love with those guys. Hundreds of thousands of people would stand in sleet storms just to get a glimpse. The duke and duchess of Windsor, the most famous couple in the world probably in 1945, begged the manager of the Waldorf-Astoria could they please shake hands with Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes and Jack Bradley. It was like Beatlemania. It was a phenomena that photo created.
LAMB: But it's not, as you know, the first time the photo's been published. I mean, it's been published before. It's published in a lot of books. Again, though, has this ever been done? Has a book ever been written about the photo and how it got there and all that?
Mr. BRADLEY: Not about the boys. The book's about the boys. No. My dad wouldn't talk. It took a son to get the Bradley story, and then it took a member of--I'm part of the family of the flag raising, if you think my dad was a flag raiser. So I could call up Ed and Mel and John and Maureen and Mary, and when they said, `Oh, my brother wouldn't want to be portrayed as a hero,' I'd say, you know, `Why don't--why--I mean, why don't you just cut that out? I mean, my dad, you know, gave me that mantra all my life. What I want to know, did Harlon ever kiss a girl? You know, I want to know the family stuff. How'd the photo affect th--your mom and dad?' So I just had family conversations. The book's about six boys. It's not about war.
LAMB: Well, talk about who you got to spend time with in--in each case. For instance, Ira Hayes--who's alive that knew him?
Mr. BRADLEY: I didn't get anyone to talk. They voluntarily told me stories that--had--they never told before outside the family. They gave me documents. You know, it was very voluntary.
LAMB: But is anybody left in his family--brothers, sisters?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, his brother, Kenny Hayes. I stood with Kenny Hayes on the spot that I--that he found Ira dead face down. I've spent a lot of time with these people.
LAMB: How about Harlon Block?
Mr. BRADLEY: Harlon has such a nice family. Ed Block's down in Texas and Mel is out in California, and Maureen just had an operation. She's a beautiful woman, his sister. She was the last family member to see Harlon alive. He came up to her and said, `Maureen, I'm not coming back this time. Goodbye.'
LAMB: Two of them said that.
Mr. BRADLEY: Mike and Harlon. See, they told--Mike and Harlon prepared for their deaths and they told people they weren't coming back, but for half a century, those people thought they were the only one. And I went out and made all these phone calls and Mike Strank, for example--I've strung seven months of him telling loved ones and friends that he's not coming back from Pennsylvania to training camp in California, training camp in Camp Tarawa in Hawaii, to Iwo Jima the night before the invasion on the island. The night before he dies, he tells someone it's coming pretty soon. Five minutes before he dies he points to a dead Marine and he says, `I wonder what i--what it'll be like when I'm like that.' Five minutes later he's dead. He knew exactly where and when he was going to die. Try to explain it. I don't--I don't try.
LAMB: Who's around for Rene Gagnon?
Mr. BRADLEY: Rene Gagnon has a widow, Pauline, and a son Rene Gagnon Jr.
LAMB: And where do they live? Do you know?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yeah, up in New Hampshire.
LAMB: What about Frank Sousley?
Mr. BRADLEY: Franklin Sousley--that poor mother of his, Goldie, she cried a lot. Two husbands, I think six sons--she outlived them all. There's no Sousley blood to talk to.
LAMB: She's gone by now. She's dead.
Mr. BRADLEY: Oh, yeah. She's long gone. The brothers--the--the--every--all the Sousleys are gone. But he left some old friends. He left a girlfriend, a beautiful lady, Marianne Hamm, you know, and I captured the--his hillbilly stories. He was such a fun-loving guy. He--people loved him. They'd laugh. Look at the book. Franklin doesn't let anybody have a bad day. His last words were, `I'm OK.'
LAMB: How did--how did you and Ron Powers interact? How'd that work?
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, I was--I did all the interviews and I have a degree of--in that part of the world and the book is--I'm the author and then...
LAMB: But did you sit down with him and...
Mr. BRADLEY: No, no, no. E-mail and telephone.
LAMB: E-mail and telephone. How times have you ever been with him?
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: I never thought of that, twice.
LAMB: So the whole thing was done long distance.
Mr. BRADLEY: Most of the book was done long distance. If you fly out to do an interview with a vet, then there's about an hour of them being nice to you, coffee--wonderful people, don't get me wrong. Telephone's very direct. I can go right in there and say, `Mr. Jones, you are not talking to me because you saw probably a friend die horribly. Now you're 75, your life expectancy's about zero, Mr. Jones. Now you're staying quiet out of respect for a friend, 19 probably when he died. And now you'll die and it's as if that guy never lived. If you will talk to me, maybe we can bring him back to life in a sensitive way. Now you're--you're concerned you might cry. Well, I've been crying for years now on this trail and just give it a try. Tell me something in honor of that guy. Please, Mr. Jones.' He'd say, `Call me tomorrow at 1.'

Shooed his wife out of the house, picked up the phone, cries into the phone for 40 minutes. I'm looking at the computer, headset on, looking--I can't see the screen anymore I'm crying so--I'm not even wiping it off my--you know, it's just too much. Forty minutes into the deal, he goes, `That's all I can say.' Puts the phone down. So who got the most benefit out of the book? Oscar, my dog, 'cause at that point I would say, `Oscar.' I mean, I couldn't even sign my name at that point after those 40 minutes. And we'd go out on the beach and I'd look at the water for two hours trying to understand what I was just told.
LAMB: Where did you do this, you personally?
Mr. BRADLEY: Manhattan and Rye. Manha--Manhattan--Ne--New York, New York, and Rye, New York.
LAMB: What do you do full time for a living?
Mr. BRADLEY: I speak and I write.
Mr. BRADLEY: Audiences and paper. I mean, I don't--I'm not trying to be a wise guy but...
LAMB: About?
Mr. BRADLEY: Motivational speaker, about leadership, about how, `Yes, we could have lost out there but it was attitude,' and that it's a common virtue in organizations that makes excellence, not uncommon valor, common virtue.
LAMB: And how long have you done this kind of work?
Mr. BRADLEY: Many years.
LAMB: Did you--as you--that's what you've done all your life? What were you trained in eve--originally?
Mr. BRADLEY: Boy, my background is so--I've been to 46 countries. I threw myself on the fence of the American Embassy in Kabul 'cause I was dying of amoebic dysentery and I challenged the Marines to shoot me. They had bayonets. `Get off the fence. Get off the fence.' I've been up to Mt. Everb--Mt. Everest base camp for a couple of months. I've walked in Africa looking at lions. I have run companies in Japan, America, Germany, Italy, mostly in the communications business. So it's a--it's kind of a varied background.
LAMB: Back to the way this--this whole thing was done, did--did--'cause there's a lot of history in here about the battle itself and you credit in the back a couple of books, one by Holland Smith and Percy Finch...
Mr. BRADLEY: Right.
LAMB: ...saying it's the best book on this. And you have two of them there; one of them was by Richard Wheeler in 1994. `Best book on Iw--Iwo Jima battle itself.'
Mr. BRADLEY: Right. Richard Wheeler, great guy, talked to him two nights ago. We joke a lot. He was in my dad's platoon. He was in the 3rd Platoon. He knew all those guys. He couldn't stick around for the flag raising because half his jaw was gone and half his leg was gone. So they took him out to a hospital ship. But he started to write notes and he produced the two best books on Iwo Jima. The first is called "The Bloody Battle for Suribachi." The second is called "Iwo"--I-W-O. Richard Wheeler, the best two books.

The--the book by Holland Smith, that covers his whole life. Part of it is Iwo Jima. Holland Smith was General Holland "Mad" Smith. And if you want some Marine attitude read Holland "Mad" Smith's "Coral & Brass." If you want the history of Iwo Jima, read Richard Wheeler. If you'd like the history of six nice boys, read James Bradley.
LAMB: And again, though, wo--working with your--your--the writer on this thing, did you record this stuff--physically record it or you do it all on computer?
Mr. BRADLEY: I don't like to record because you lose a tape and you get lazy. So what I've done for probably 20 years: just take verbatim notes. When I'm listening, I'm not interpreting. I'm just documenting verbatim. So, yeah, there's a lot of misspelled words, but after they hang up the phone, you go back and you clean up all the misspelled words and you put in the words that you know you heard but you didn't have time to type. So do a one-hour interview, then you've got to sit there for two hours and clean it up.
LAMB: And when it came to the descriptions in here of all the battles and all that kind of stuff, was that your--those your words or did you have Ron Powers do that?
Mr. BRADLEY: No, Ro--Ro--I did all the research.
LAMB: He just filled--you sent him the research and then he used to put it in some kind of a context? I'm just trying to get the...
Mr. BRADLEY: We worked in different ways, different cha--you know, there--there are parts of that book that I wrote completely, other parts of that book that I looked at what Ron wrote and I--I approved it. Other--other times I changed it. I'm the author. Every word is--is mine. I don't...
LAMB: But just a question on this...
Mr. BRADLEY: Thousands of people contributed to that book.
LAMB: I understand, but just a question on how the words got finally down on paper. Why did you need an--another person to help you write this thing? Why didn't you just do it yourself?
Mr. BRADLEY: Who's going to let James or--I went to 27 publishers and said, `I'm a son and I am going to write a book about these guys, and I think you'll have a hit here.' Twenty-seven geniuses took out beautiful starchy stationery with--with some of the most famous names in American publishing and wrote me a letter telling me--you know, brilliant--I mean, these are Columbia masters in journalism, you know--brilliant letters about what a dope I was. So I...
LAMB: You mean...
Mr. BRADLEY: they were not going to accept me alone. And then Jim Hornfischer, my agent, says, `You better face the facts. You want six boys to be known? You better--you better have an insurance policy here and you better have a talented minder to make sure that the publisher has enough confidence that a book is going to come out of this, Mr. Bradley, because you'--you know, I don't have 15 years with The New York Times. Going in to a publisher and saying, `I'm a son and I just came back from Mt. Everest,' that doesn't get you a book contract.
LAMB: But you said earlier when we talked about it--you said you had no doubts this was going to be a success. Isn't it interesting that took...
Mr. BRADLEY: No, I didn't say that.
LAMB: Wait a minute. Twenty-seven publishers said no to you, but bingo, it comes out and it's right up there on the best-seller list. What did you know that they didn't know and why did Bantam buy it?
Mr. BRADLEY: Bantam bought it because they have a genius editor there called Katie Hall, who is a very brave woman and--you know, they're--Bantam is lucky to have Katie Hall. Bantam also has the best marketing--oh, jeez. The Bantam team is the best in the business. I mean, people in the know know that. And--so that's them. So you're asking me why did I know?
LAMB: Mm-hmm.
Mr. BRADLEY: Lookit, I was raised with a flag raiser. So I'm in New Delhi and I say to an Afghani, `Did you ever see this photo?' `Oh, yeah.' You know, I mean, I'm in--I'm in an airplane over the Pacific flying to Japan and I didn't tell a lot of people I was a flag raiser's son, but I'd mention it, `No. No. Really?' I mean, `Yeah. He had eight kids. I'm one.' I'm trying to re--`Oh, my God. Really? Martha, this is the son of a'--you know, there's a pent-up excitement. That photo--it's as if it was surgically inserted in every school person's mind in the American school system. There's great emotion around that. I got 27 letters saying, `No, they were logical letters.' They didn't understand this is an emotional story--emotional photo.
LAMB: How many of these books are--are printed right now out in the marketplace?
Mr. BRADLEY: Last count I think it was 280,000.
LAMB: I want to ask you--I don't know if you want to do this or not, but on pa...
Mr. BRADLEY: I'll do anything you tell me to.
LAMB: ...on pa--well, on page 351, there's a letter.
Mr. BRADLEY: Oh, jeez.
LAMB: Yeah. See? You're not sure you want to do this, are you? There's a letter that your--Is it your daughter?..
Mr. BRADLEY: (Nods yes)
LAMB: ...when she was 15 years old wrote. What--give us the circumstances.
Mr. BRADLEY: Her teacher said, `Your assignment is to write a letter to someone you admire the most.' So Alison, at the age of, I think, 15 chose her grandpa who was dead for three years.
LAMB: Can you read it? And if you can't, we don't need to go through the whole thing, but it--yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: You want--well, then you don't need to go the whole--through--it's long. You want it--the whole thing read?
LAMB: Well, the reason why--yeah, but the reason why is that it tells a story and then--then you can stop and comment if you want to as you go.
Mr. BRADLEY: It's very long.
LAMB: I know. I know. Just go--start on it, and if it doesn't work...
Mr. BRADLEY: I'm not going to comment unless you interrupt me.
LAMB: All right.
Mr. BRADLEY: This is Alison Bradley. It's her letter to Grandpa and she was a 15-year-old high school student and she wrote a letter to Grandpa Bradley, who's dead for three years.

`Dear Grandpa: You'll see on the envelope there's no address. I sat for a long time and wondered where to address this. Heaven? Is that where you are? I had no way of knowing, so I hope this ends up getting to you. I've been thinking a lot of you lately. I just have a few questions I need answered.

This past holiday, Daddy'--who's me--`took us to Washington, DC, for a few days to learn more about you. Daddy told us stories of your youth. He told us how, as a young, unmarried man, you boarded a cramped boat with thousands of other young Marines and that you were shipped off to Iwo Jima to either live or die.

World War II was such a horrible thing for your generation, Grandpa. I saw the letter you wrote to your mother from Mt. Suribachi. You described how filthy you all--all were and how you would give, quote, "Your left arm for a good shower and a clean shave," unquote.

How did you do it, Grandpa? I will never know. Finally, Daddy showed us the original footage of the flag raising, the film. Over and over we saw you and your friends raise that flag. This was our background to the trip, no more, no less. But once in Washington, DC, the enormity of the event and your contribution sang in--sank in.

In our four days we climbed up your leg at the Marine Corp memorial, had a personal tour of Congress and a private tour of the White House. I have finally obtained knowledge and understanding of the love and respect that the world has for you, Grandpa. In four days there, I learned more about you than I did in the 12 years that I knew you.

Why did you not tell us about the Navy Cross, Grandpa? And about the time that Congress stopped and the Senate lined up to shake your hand. Why did you never sit us on your knee and tell us those stories? The only answer I can give myself is that you were a quiet, modest and an honorable man who did not bask in glory. The only words that you ever spoke in front of the camera were, quote, "I was in a certain place at a certain time. None of us are real heroes. We all jumped in and lent a hand," unquote.

These words illustrate your feelings exactly, Grandpa. You just wanted a normal, ordinary family life with your wife and eight children and that is exactly what you had. After you died, a local newspaper wrote, quote, "Bradley was the soul survivor of the flag raising for more than 14 years. He often was asked to attend banquets and dinners and give interviews. But Bradley was a quiet man who operated the Bradley Funeral Home in Antigo. He declined," end quote.'

She writes, `The article ends, quote, "His silence has been honorable and now it is eternal," unquote.' Alison is now writing. `I write this letter exactly 52 years to the day since the flag raising on Iwo Jima. I sat for about an hour before I started writing to you and tried to picture exactly how you felt and what it was like being on that little island thousands of miles from home. To you there was no glory in an operation that cost two nations so dearly. Every year on your birthday, Grandpa, we all go off to your grave and tell stories about how it was when you were alive. We always sing your favorite songs. Can you hear us, Grandpa?

My questions are pointless seeing as I'll never know the answers. I just needed to ask them. I cannot send this to you, so it'll go into my drawer. But wherever you are, heaven or otherwise, I do hope you receive my letter. We are all healthy and our lives are going well. Signed your loving granddaughter, Alison Bradley.'
LAMB: What's Alison like?
Mr. BRADLEY: She's a beautiful girl that NYU called and said, `Would you please attend our university, but'--there's a but--`you got to go to Florence for the first year and live in a castle.'
LAMB: To do what?
Mr. BRADLEY: And then we'll take--yeah. That wa--do things that she won't tell her dad probably.
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: But freshman, NYU, Florence. The--Michelle, my oldest daughter, is going to Shanghai next year to college.
LAMB: Now this letter--when you first read it, what impact did it have on you and were you surprised?
Mr. BRADLEY: What impact?
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. BRADLEY: I wept.
LAMB: But, I mean, what was the--what were the circumstances? Did--did--did it surprise you that she had this kind of...
Mr. BRADLEY: Got it by e-mail. `Daddy, I--here's my assignment.' I had no idea that was her assignment, that she was doing that. And I read it on e-mail, then I forwarded it to family and friends and they all cried.
LAMB: And what was the reaction at the school? I mean, did she get an A on this?
Mr. BRADLEY: You know, I don't know. But it was just--we talked about it as a family.
LAMB: Your--your father--what kind of relationship did you have with him?
Mr. BRADLEY: Great. He was a great guy.
LAMB: Was he?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yeah. He had a great life. Very sympathetic man, very li--a listener--good man.
LAMB: One of the things you spent a chapter on the book is the seventh bond tour. Now the reason I bring this up is go back to the--the photo's taken, the war's over, your father comes back. At what point does he come back to this country and how did the bond tour work out and wh--what happened during that?
Mr. BRADLEY: Oh, man. I didn't say it in this book, but there are many books that say that bond tour--the seventh bond tour is the most successfully marketed product in the history of all American marketing. I mean, Bill Gates sold us Windows 95 and that was, you know, an incredible sale, that publicity and everything.

The bond tour raised $24 billion in just 60 days. They sold $24 billion in bonds. What does that mean? Right now the president can take your taxes and fight anywhere he wants. Back then, the America--the--back then war was not in the federal budget, so the president in a--th--so democratic, this country--had to go out basically and make appeals across the country to the populous. `Please approve what we're doing by buying a bond. Buy it for $17. Keep it for 10 years. It rises to $25.' Soaks up the economy's extra money, 'cause there's no goods to buy, keeps inflation down. Brilliant.

Well, there had been six bond tours--huge extravaganzas, like a Rolling Stones concert moving across the country; parks, stadiums, huge lights, big hotel rooms, mayors, governors--huge, six of those. American public's a little tired. They don't have a lot more money. Photo, Roosevelt, brilliant. `We'll have the photo as a symbol. Then we'll get the three g--we'll get the six guys who raised it.' Well, three are dead, only three come back: my dad, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes.

They bring them into the White House, these little boys. My dad's on crutches full of shrapnel, and they said, `You used to work for the War Department; now you work for the Treasury Department. You fought for a mountain in the Pacific; now you're going to fight--now you're going to fight for a mountain of money.' And they put those three boys on a bond tour, and they went to cities across the country. In Boston, 200,000 people stood in a sleet storm for hours just to get a glimpse. In Houston, the police put roadblocks outside the city because the crowds were so huge that they were afraid to gridlock the town.

You're looking at a photo of Times Square. Mayor LaGuardia is watching my dad raise the flag. Hundreds of thousands of people jamming into Times Square. In Chicago, they closed the Loop down because so many people were coming in. They filled stadiums. They were--people were wild about the picture, like Beetlmania, and they dug deep in their pockets and they contributed $24 billion.

Now let me put that into context. Harry Truman's entire budget--entire government budget--entire government budget, everything--the numbers are in there, I'll say $56 billion--it's $55 billion, $56 billion, I can't remember, OK? Fifty-five--that's--that's all the dollars he gets to play with. The bond tour raises about 47 percent of that. Two months? Some young kids talking?
LAMB: And they were the seventh bond tour and there were eight total for the war?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: And then later in 19--What year?--'54 the actual dedication of the Iwo Jima statue? Here is--Vice President Nixon's in the photograph. Your father's there at the left with the glasses on. Is that right?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: And what--what's the circumstance here?
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, Eisenhower and Nixon had just dedicated the Marine Corps memorial and that's the last picture of them in one--of the flag raisers in one photograph.
LAMB: Ira Hayes right there?
Mr. BRADLEY: Ira Hayes. Ira's dead two months later face down.
LAMB: And this--this whole statue was sculpted by...
Mr. BRADLEY: Felix de Weldon.
LAMB: Who was he?
Mr. BRADLEY: A sculptor.
LAMB: Did you--is he alive? Do you...
Mr. BRADLEY: He's alive.
LAMB: And did you talk to him?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yes, sir.
LAMB: And what did he tell you about the whole experience? Why was he chosen?
Mr. BRADLEY: Incredible story. So, Felix de Weldon is in the Navy and he's--it's in the book exactly. It's in Maryland. He's at some Navy base and he's working on a mural of the battle of the Coral Sea for the Navy. And then over the--I don't know what type of machine, but over some machine, like Teletype or--I can't--I don't know what type--but the--the photo comes the day before the American public sees it.

He sees that photo as a young Navy man. He abandons the p--the picture he's working on as an artist and takes some clay--he cannot get his mind off the photo. He stays up all night, all night, and the day that America saw the photo, Felix de Weldon already had a lump of clay about this big that was the statue.

So it went through--it's a long story about the--how it finally got so big out there. And he made a number of them. But, yeah, he was in the White House with the president. Look at the statue. He was the guy who made the first one, the clay lump, and then he made others. They're scattered around the country.
LAMB: What'd your father think of being a Hollywood adviser on the "Sands of Iwo Jima" with John Wayne?
Mr. BRADLEY: Wasn't an adviser; he--he was a star. He appeared in the movie with John Wayne.
LAMB: What did he think of the whole experience?
Mr. BRADLEY: Not much.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. BRADLEY: Because as he always said, `The heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back.' And the "Sands of Iwo Jima" is not about Iwo Jima. It's about--it's about prostitutes in Hawaii and it's about training in New Zealand and it's about the Battle of Tarawa. And right at the end, they hit Iwo Jima. Well, it's--then why'd they call it "Sands of Iwo Jima"? So that they could use the number one image in the history of photography, the flag raising, and they could advertise, `The flag raisers are in this movie,' so that they would pack the seats.

What did Iwo Jima--"Sands of Iwo Jima" mean to John Wayne? Well, go out to Grauman's Chinese Theater and you'll see Betty Grable's footprints and Elizabeth Taylor's handprints. And when you get to John Wayne's plaque, you'll notice that his is different than all the others. John Wayne's plague is black because John Wayne asked for the honor of being memorialized in black cement made from black sand, the black sands of Iwo Jima.
LAMB: So when you look back now on all the work you did...
Mr. BRADLEY: Not much work compared to those guys.
LAMB: What's this experience been like?
Mr. BRADLEY: Oh, beautiful. I have spent five years searching for my father, five years finding five more brothers, five years talking to heroes, five years talking to girlfriends who wished that their puppy love boys came back.
LAMB: And as you've gone about the country talking about it, what has been the reaction of the people that you see and meet?
Mr. BRADLEY: I understand that--you know, my dad t--started teaching me about fame at the age of nine. I was trained how to handle Walter Cronkite's producers when I was a little kid.
LAMB: What'd you tell them?
Mr. BRADLEY: My dad would be sitting right there at the table and the code was that, `He's in Canada.' So--so The New York Times would call and I would say, `No, sir. I'm sorry he's--thank you for calling but my father's fishing in Canada. Well, no--no, there's no phone up there, si--no, we don't know when he's coming back.' And he'd be sitting right there. My dad never fished. He never went to Canada.
LAMB: Why'd he do that?
Mr. BRADLEY: To honor the real heroes of Iwo Jima. If he spoke, he understood he created a headline. That headline would obscure who he thought were the real heroes, the guys who did not come back.
LAMB: And what do you think he would think if he came back to life and saw this book?
Mr. BRADLEY: Well, if he was alive, he'd probably move to Alaska, rip out all the telephone lines and be muttering, `James and that damn book.'
LAMB: Is your mother alive?
Mr. BRADLEY: But he's not alive and I think now in h--up there where those six boys are, they're happy that the book is out because it does something my father could never do and that is shine the light on all the heroes.
LAMB: Is your mother still alive?
Mr. BRADLEY: She got--yes, sir. She's 76 and she got snowshoes for Christmas.
LAMB: What does she think of the book?
Mr. BRADLEY: She's in love with one of the boys who raised the flag on Iwo Jima.
LAMB: We have some video--now all the videos on the program's been taken by Richard Hall of our staff at the Iwo Jima statue. And to kind of close this off, we have some video showing where it's located in relationship to the Capitol, which they'll roll here in just a second. Any advice to people coming to town that have never seen this?
Mr. BRADLEY: Yeah, don't believe almost everything you've read about this.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. BRADLEY: I mean, the schoolkids are going there and they're getting a pamphlet from some ridiculous company, that I hope is watching this, some marketing company. And they give them pamphlets about all the different monuments. The pamphlet here says, `Hey, go look for the 13th hand. There's a secret on the monument. There's 13 hands.' That's what we're telling American schoolkids. `It's the hand of God. The sculptor put the hand of God. Thirteen hands.'

Complete myth, but there it is written down so our schoolkids can go look at it. Don't believe almost everything you've read about the boys or the monument or the photo or Iwo Jima. Read the book. It's not because, you know, I'm--I'm good; it's just that I picked up the phone, I heard the honest stories and I laid them down honestly.
LAMB: And there's Joe Rosenthal's photograph with the AP on the cover of this book. Our guest has been James Bradley, with Ron Powers. And the name of this book is "Flag of Our Fathers." Thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. BRADLEY: Thank you.

Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 2004. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.